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journey under her protection, and after having encouraged each other, we got into our canoes. The river upon which we embarked is called Mesconsin [Wisconsin] ; the river is very wide, but the sand bars make it very difficult to navigate, which is increased by numerous islands covered with grape vines. The country through which it flows is beautiful; the groves are so dispersed in the prairies that it makes a noble prospect; and the fruit of the trees shows a fertile soil. These groves are full of walnut, oak, and other trees unknown to us in Europe. We saw neither game nor fish, but roebuck and buffaloes in great numbers. After having navigated thirty leagues we discovered some iron mines, and one of our company who had seen such mines before, said these were very rich in ore. They are covered with about three feet of soil, and situate near a chain of rocks, whose base is covered with fine timber. After having rowed ten leagues further, making forty leagues from the place where we had embarked, we

came into the Mississippi on the 17th of June (1673).

The mouth of the Mesconsin Wisconsin is in about 4272 N. lat. Behold us, then, upon this celebrated river, whose singularities I have attentively studied. The Mississippi takes its rise in several lakes in the North. Its channel is very narrow at the mouth of the Mesconsin, and runs south until it is affected by very high hills.

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Its current is slow, because of its depth. In sounding we found nineteen fathoms of water. A little further on it widens nearly three-quarters of a league, and the width continues to be more equal. We slowly followed its course to the south and south-east to the 42° N. lat. Here we perceived the country change its appearance, There was scarcely any more woods or mountains. The islands are covered with fine trees, but we could not see any more roebucks, buffaloes, bustards and swans.

Having descended the river as far as 41° 28', we found that turkeys took the place of game, and the Pisikious that of other animals. We called the Pisikious wild buffaloes, because they very much resemble our domestic oxen; they are not so long, but twice as large. We shot one of them, and it was as much as thirteen men could do to drag him from the place where he fell.

We continued to descend the river, not knowing where we were going, and having made an hundred leagues without seeing anything but wild beasts and birds, and being on our guard we landed at night to make our fire and prepare our repast; and then left the shore to anchor in the river, while one of us watched by turns to prevent a surprise. We went south and south-west until we found ourselves in about the latitude of 40° and some minutes, having rowed more than sixty leagues since we entered the river.

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We took leave of our guides about the end of June, and embarked in presence of all the village, who admired our birch canoes, as they had never before seen anything like them. We descended the river, looking for another Pekitanoni [Missouri], which runs from the northwest into the Mississippi, of which I will speak more hereafter.

As we were descending the river we saw high rocks with hideous monsters painted on them, and upon which the bravest Indians dare not look. They are as large as a calf, with head and horns like a goat; their eyes red; beard like a tiger's and a face like a man's. Their taits are so long that they pass over their heads and between their fore legs, under their belly, and ending like a fish's tail. They are painted red, green, and black. They are so well drawn that I cannot believe they were drawn by the Indians. And for what purpose they were made seems to me a great mystery. As we fell down the river, and while we were discoursing upon these monsters, we heard a great rushing and bubbling of waters, and small islands of floating trees coming from the mouth of the Pekitanoni [Missouri), with such rapidity that we could not trust ourselves to go near it. The water of this river is so muddy that we could not drink it. It so discolors the Mississippi as to make the navigation of it dangerous. This river comes from the north-west,

A.P.S. Vol. I


and empties into the Mississippi, and on its banks are situated a number of Indian villages. We judged by the compass, that the Mississippi discharged itself into the Gulf of Mexico. It would, however, have been more agreeable if it had discharged itself into the South Sea or Gulf of California.

Having satisfied ourselves that the Gulf of Mexico was in latitude 31° 40', and that we could reach it in three or four days' journey from the Akansea [Arkansas River], and that the Mississippi discharged itself into it, and not to the eastward of the Cape of Florida, nor into the California Sea, we resolved to return home. We considered that the advantage of our travels would be altogether lost to our nation if we fell into the hands of the Spaniards, from whom we could expect no other treatment than death or slavery; besides, we saw that we were not prepared to resist the Indians, the allies of the Europeans, who continually infested the lower part of this river; we therefore came to the conclusion to return, and make a report to those who had sent us.

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B. F. French, Historical Collections of Louisiana (Philadelphia, 1850), Part II. 279-296 passim.

20. Origin of the French Claim to the Mississippi Valley (1682)


Member and describer of the successful expedition of La Salle to the mouth of the Mississippi.

The 26th of March resuming our course, we perceived, twelve leagues lower down, a periagua or wooden canoe, to which the sieur de Tonty gave chase, till approaching the shore, we perceived a great number of Indians. The sieur de la Salle, with his usual precaution, turned to the opposite banks, and then sent the calumet of peace by the sieur de Tonty. Some of the chief men crossed the river to come to us as good friends. They were fishermen of the Nachié tribe (Natchez), enemies of the Taensa. .

At last, after a navigation of about forty leagues, we arrived, on the sixth of April, at a point where the river divides into three channels. The sieur de la Salle divided his party the next day into three bands, to go and explore them. He took the western, the sieur Dautray the southern, the sieur Tonty, whom I accompanied, the middle one. These three channels are beautiful and deep. The water is brackish; after advancing two leagues it became perfectly salt, and advancing on, we discovered the open sea, so that

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